|“It’s time and money,” said Evans of the proposed licensing process. While he already holds a chauffeur’s license, Evans thinks it would be “very tough” for many drivers to obtain one.
“To go through all the hassle for that, it’s ridiculous,” Evans said.
But it’s not just drivers concerned about new rules. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to the sponsor of the ordinance, Alderman Anthony Beale, 9th Ward, on June 2.
“Requiring fingerprint-based background checks for non-law enforcement purposes can have a discriminatory impact on communities of color,” Holder wrote.
According to Holder, the FBI’s fingerprint database “was not designed to be used to determine whether or not someone is eligible for a work opportunity. Relying on it for that purpose is both unwise and unfair.”
So why are aldermen throwing their support behind new rideshare restrictions?
Perhaps it’s because they need to deliver a return on an investment.
More than a dozen aldermen took a total of $51,500 from the Illinois Transportation Trade Association Political Action Committee in 2015, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections. The PAC’s purpose is to “garner support for the Illinois taxicab industry.” It donated an additional $10,000 to the City Council’s Progressive Caucus.
The major supporters of the Illinois Transportation Trade Association PAC include companies that make money off of the traditional taxi system, such as medallion brokers and Yellow Cab, which have combined to give the PAC more than $300,000 since 2014, according to the PAC’s quarterly financial reports.
Alderman Ed Burke, 14th Ward, who supported a similar licensing proposal in October 2015, took $10,000 from the PAC in 2015. The previous year, Burke took $10,000 from the owners of Dispatch Taxi. Allegations that Burke has given preferential treatment to the taxi industry for his own benefit stretch back decades.
“It’s supposed to be a government of the people, by the people and for the people,” Evans said. “And you can’t get more ‘of the people’ than Uber.”
Stovall, who in addition to providing for his family is working to pay off student loans, thinks there’s a disconnect between the city’s political leaders and those they represent.
“These companies are helping out people in my neighborhood, helping people better themselves.” Stovall said. “[Aldermen] don’t understand that.”